But that is exactly what was brought in to the National Library of Scotland, and the restoration team managed to miraculously piece it together.
The video above follows the restoration process of “The Chimney Map” from the unboxing to the finished, cleaned-up version.
From start to finish, it took six months to achieve this level of recovery.
One team member who worked to return the map to some semblance of what it used to be describes her first impression of the project: “I was quite horrified. I'd never seen anything in such poor condition and it was something I thought wouldn't be worked on.”
If you're interesting in hearing more about how this map turned up, the staff shared a bit of insight in this video: